Sunday, September 25, 2011


Why is that India is not able to produce champions in any field of sports, in spite of its large population? Could it be due to lack of physical stamina because of wrong types of foods consumed which do not help to evolve appropriate body dynamics so necessary to out perform others in a competition? What about the sub-par sports infrastructure that is available for the sports persons to practice and get trained as per international standards? Can inadequate patriotism and lack of determination be a factor? Why is that the hockey champions of yester years are struggling even to qualify for the Olympics? Is the country satisfied with a Milka Singh of the past? How can one explain the consistent inconsistency of the national cricket team which attains glory at times during playing at home and then collapses like a pack of cards under foreign playing conditions?

The abysmal performance of Indian athletes or sports persons in any field of competition rarely gets the attention it deserves but even a mediocre performance by one individual is acclaimed as fantastic! The sports administration in the country is plagued by corruption, inefficiency, favoritism, short sighted goals and no vision . Look at the Common Wealth Games fiasco with millions of rupees being siphoned off by the Organizing Committee (OC) and it is no wonder that the Chairman and senior officials are languishing in Tihar Jail for corrupt practices! Most of the Associations are run by old politicians with one foot in the grave, not allowing the real, experienced practitioners to play any constructive role. Many of them rule the roost for decades without any shame or guilt and accountability is the last thing that counts in the country. Many of these Associations have developed their vested interests to perpetuate the monopoly without allowing new comers with novel ideas to have a shot at the top position. Even selection of national teams are ridden with factionalism, parochialism, regionalism, caste and religion. How can any one expect that such a country is capable of selecting the best to represent the country?

One of the most disgusting aspects of Indian sports is the way selected sports persons are treated by the non-playing bureaucrats whether in travelling or lodging or feeding. The proportion of non-playing officials as a part of any contingent invariably is relatively high and these officials are known to enjoy the best of every thing at the expense of the playing members. Athletes and teams are housed in most unsatisfactory staying places, basic traveling comforts are denied and adequate funds not made available to eat nutritious foods. Predominance of cricket over all other forms of sports has contributed to some extent the deteriorating quality of sports persons in other areas and to day most youngsters aspire to become a cricket player in preference to all other sports, the main reason being the luxury enjoyed by cricket players in terms of remuneration and perks, best boarding and lodging facilities and recognition for good performance. In spite of the existence of a moribund Sports Ministry at Delhi, nothing has been done during the last 4 decades to improve the situation! Probably Indian Sports would be better off without a Ministry at Delhi!

What is the provocation for such an outburst as expressed above? London Olympics are scheduled for 2012 and India, as usual has to do the formality of sending a "huge" continent for participation in the true spirit of the Olympic movement! It is reported that so called Sports Authority of India (SAI) has submitted a proposal to the sports ministry urging it to address the traveling and dietary problems faced by the India athletes while training and competing in international events abroad. If the SAI Director General is to be believed Indian athletes do not get proper rest prior to their participation in international competitions and further these "unfortunate" participants, especially in power events such as boxing, weightlifting and wrestling are deprived of healthy Indian food of their taste while competing and training abroad. Whose mistake it is? Why this late realization? SAI seems to have come up with some "suggestions" to the Ministry for consideration! The "suggestions" made by SAI include -- "wherever the journey is more than eight hours, Indian teams may be allowed to travel three days prior to the event instead of two days as in the existing guidelines. To overcome the food problem, Indian embassies may be asked through the MEA to arrange Indian food from the nearest Indian restaurant in proximity of the hotel where Indian teams are being stayed" Most Indian athletes are reported to be vegetarian by habit and serving non-vegetarian food affects their food intake significantly. Added to this the quality of foods served to them is grossly inadequate because of taste and nutritional factors. The "punching line" is that this "affects the performance of Indian athletes while participating in international events abroad!

As a country India should be ashamed of such absurd interpretation for the failure of Indian athletes abroad. After 64 years of independence, it is now that the SAI is discovering this fact and if this is not outright baloney what else it can be? It appears that the GOI is already preparing grounds for dolling out excuse for another shameful performance being anticipated in 2012 Olympics after wasting millions of rupees from the public exchequer in the name of sports! Like in all spheres of human endeavor China has provided a sharp contrasting picture producing world winners in practically every field of sports within a short span of time. Why is that India cannot achieve even a fraction of what China has achieved? The simple answer is the dominance of non-sports person in every walk of sports activity with no vision, commitment and skills required to motivate Indian sports persons!


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